Earlier this month, from court side seats at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, I watched Russian upstart Daniil Medvedev dismiss American Steve Johnson in straight sets in the opening round of the BNP Paribas Open.
Medvedev made impactful headlines last year at Wimbledon when he defeated world number three Stan Wawrinka in the opening round. Earlier in the year, he reached the final in Chennai before falling to Roberto Bautista Agut. Other notable wins last year were against then world number eleven Grigor Dimitrov in Washington. The Bulgarian would win the Western & Southern Open a few weeks later in Cincinnati. Then in Moscow in October, Medvedev defeated yet another world number eleven, this time against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta. These achievements helped cement a place in the ATP Next Gen Finals, where Medvedev would go 2-2, falling to Hyeon Chung in the semifinals.
Medvedev continued his excellent play into this year, as he won the ATP Sydney 250 title as a qualifier. Following a second round loss last week in Miami, Medvedev is now 11-5 on the year.
Three weeks ago in the match against Johnson, the Russian seemed to hit aces when he needed them and ended up with ten aces in his 76(0) 64 victory. Probably my biggest takeaway from watching this match was the fact that Medvedev defended exceptionally well and got to every ball. Personally, I am looking forward to watching the continued upward trajectory of Daniil Medvedev.